South Carolina Republican Governor Nikki Haley, 44, has been picked by the US President Elect Donald Trump as the US Ambassador to the United Nations. Haley’s appointment marks several firsts.

If confirmed by the Senate, she is the first women for posts in his administration from South Carolina Government. She is also the first woman and the first minority picked for a Cabinet-level post in Trump’s administration. She is only the second Indian American ever elected governor – the first was Bobby Jindal.  Importantly, Ms. Haley will also be the first person to enter the role with no previous foreign policy or diplomatic experience. She will move to New York City for her new job.

The daughter of Indian Sikh immigrants from Punjab, Raj and Ajit Randhawa, Haley is married to Michael Haley. Her birth name is Nimrata Randhawa.  As governor of a state with a history of tense race relations, Haley wedged the nation’s attention, last year in 2015 when she led the call for removing the Confederate era flag from the premises of the state’s seat of government and legislature, after the terrible massacre of 9 African-Americans praying at a historic black church by a white supremacist.

Interestingly, Ms. Haley also long held reservations about Mr. Trump’s candidacy during the GOP primary, and endorsed other candidates like Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz during the primary. Referring to his former critic with whom he had sparred bitterly during the campaign, the US president-elect said, “Governor Haley has a proven track record of bringing people together regardless of background or party affiliation to move critical policies forward for the betterment of her state and our country”. He also added to the praise, “She is also a proven dealmaker, and we look to be making plenty of deals. She will be a great leader representing us on the world stage”.

Commenting on her nomination to the key post, Ms. Haley said she would be pleased to represent the US at the UN. “I was moved to accept this new assignment for two reasons. The first is a sense of duty,” Haley said. “When the President believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation, and to our nation’s standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to heed,” she said.


by Ashwani Srivastava

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